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Majority Leader Schumer Floor Remarks On The Need For Bipartisan Comprehensive AI Legislation

Washington, D.C. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) today spoke on the Senate floor after yesterday’s meeting on emerging bipartisan comprehensive AI legislation. Below are Senator Schumer’s remarks, which can also be viewed here:

Yesterday, I met with a bipartisan group of Senators – two Democrats including myself, and two Republicans – to talk about spearheading our bipartisan efforts to focus on comprehensive AI legislation.

Our group agreed that because AI technology is developing so quickly, Congress has to move fast. Over the past several weeks, my staff and I have met with close to one hundred CEOs of companies who do AI, scientists, AI academics, leaders in the industry of many different viewpoints, and critics of AI, and I plan to continue to do this. 

If harnessed responsibly, AI has the power to do tremendous things for the public good. It can unlock unimaginable marvels in medicine, business, national security, science, and so many other areas of life.

But if left unchecked, AI has the power to do tremendous, tremendous, harm – it can accelerate misinformation, breed new forms of racial prejudice, create severe economic disruptions, and hinder human agency in the most severe of ways.

So, let me make a few observations in light of my conversation and our meeting.

First, as I said a month ago, Congress must move quickly. Many AI experts have pointed out that the government must have a role in how this technology enters our lives. Even leaders of the industry say they welcome regulation. So if we are to fulfill our role properly, our approach to AI must be fast-moving. We can’t move so fast that we do flawed legislation but there is no time for waste, or delay, or sitting back. We got to move fast.

Second, our group also agreed that any approach to must be bipartisan.

AI technology already touches virtually every industry, field, and facet in our society, so our process must be collaborative and must draw from a broad and bipartisan range of views and issues.

Third, we think we have a good case study for how the bipartisan process can work: CHIPS and Science. When the Senate passed CHIPS and Science, both sides came together on an issue that impacted the nation, involved a lot of committees, inputs, and views—much like AI will. Because there is so much bipartisan overlap in CHIPS and Science as there is in AI, it makes it a lot easier to do this in a way that brings bipartisan groups together from the very beginning.

So, I hope CHIPS and Science can be a model for how we approach AI.

I thank my colleagues, so many of my colleagues, not just the four of us who met, for their attention on this pressing issue, and I look forward to continuing to work with a wide range of senators, from many committees and from both sides of the aisle, as we move forward.